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Wi-Fi hotspots under fire

Stephen Beard May 21, 2007
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Wi-Fi hotspots under fire

Stephen Beard May 21, 2007
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TEXT OF INTERVIEWLISA NAPOLI: You’ve heard about the health concerns about the cell phone. Now come the questions about what’s floating around because of all these Wi-Fi hotspots. From London, Stephen Beard says there’s a call to investigate their safety.

STEPHEN BEARD: The head of the U.K.’s main health and safety watchdog, the Health Protection Agency, has called for a review of the risks posed by Wi-Fi in schools. Now this follows an investigation by a British TV show which indicated that radiation levels in one particular school classroom were three times greater than from a cell phone transmitting mast.

NAPOLI: I know everybody’s always studying the dangers of cell phones. Is there any evidence to suggest that the Wi-Fi hotspots are dangerous themselves?

BEARD: No. There is no evidence at all .The radiation levels that were measure in the school classroom were 600 times lower than the prescribed international safety limit. But there are some British scientists who are now saying that these limits are based on incomplete science. We simply do not fully understand how Wi-Fi signals affect the brain. The assumption has been that any harmful effect comes from heating up of the brain, but the skeptics are saying maybe these low-intensity radio waves have other effects that we don’t fully understand.

NAPOLI: I know everywhere in America Stephen there are hotspots now, what about in the U.K.?

BEARD: It’s pretty widespread. There are some 30,000 Wi-Fi hotspots around the country and one or two cities here have gone completely Wi-Fi. And it is now very prevalent in schools.

NAPOLI: That’s Marketplace’s Stephen Beard in London.

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